As the restrictions during this current pandemic of 2020 look set to become more rigid as we go into 2021, we explore creative learning, available online. We are currently unable to attend meetings, work from an office, our favourite life-drawing class or meet up with fellow creatives in person which for many, is a source of inspiration or a huge part of our social life. Creatives have long been working from home, with the new world of lockdown relatively easy to adapt to, that does not mean it has been without its problems, including everything from cancelled contracts and lost income to isolation and loneliness, it's not surprising that designers, illustrators and artists have been looking for new virtual spaces to create and meet. We look at the best virtual offerings, so if you are looking to ‘brush-up’ (insert groan for cheesy joke) on skills, learn a new craft or just chat to like-minded creatives, we have the right fit for you.

Online Courses:

When choosing the right class for you, look at your current skill level – beginner, intermediate or advanced, not all classes will be relevant to your level. Check which materials/tools you will need, which will be on top of your course fees.

  1.  We begin with The Art Institute who provide all their classes virtually.  “The Art Appreciation Course is provided by The Art Institute, presented and curated by art consultant Hilary Kay. Hilary has brought together 12 passionate art specialists to create an introductory course, designed to provide you with a broad understanding of western art, it’s history and the world that surrounds it.”
  2. London Art College provides 30 online art courses for all ages and abilities. Start at any time and study at your own pace, with access online 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.
  3. The University for the Creative Arts offers one of the broadest ranges of course options in the UK for studying in the arts by distance learning, offered through their distance learning college, UCA Open College of the Arts. A range of part-time courses are available in painting, drawing, photography, music, illustration, graphic design, creative writing, textiles, sculpture, printmaking, art history and film.
  4. The  prestigious UAL ,which includes Central Saint Martins, Camberwell & Chelsea College of Arts, London College of Fashion plus more, offers several online short courses ranging from fashion design, interior design and  photography through to fine art.
  5. Offering valuable insights, you can “dive deeper into a subject, or discover something entirely new. From one-hour live video lectures to 12-week in-depth explorations, you can find a course that fits your interests, schedule, and learning style.”
  6. SearchPress Author Tutorials and workshops SearchPress are the publishers behind many craft books and are producing some free events by some of their popular authors. All previous events have been held on Facebook live or Zoom.
  7. For something fun and creative, check out ‘Dr Sketchy London’ which started life in a packed room upstairs at a French bistro and jazz venue called Toulouse-Lautrec, with two performer-models presenting anything from burlesque striptease to clowning to performance art and then posing for sketching. Online events are now broadcast from the home shared by Dr Sketchy London evil headmaster Dusty Limits and boylesque performer-model Sebastian “Snuggles” Angelique.

Online Meet-ups

1. is an independent kids' publishing house founded in 2006 by Cathy Olmedillas, formerly of '90s lifestyle bible The Face. At the start of lockdown, Olmedillas decided to set up a Slack channel, where every day from 4-6pm GMT, artists and illustrators can chat about their day, their fears, and share happy thoughts.

2.    Virtual Knitting Groups: As well as starting the #yarnshoplove campaign to support their local yarn shops during these difficult times, the UK hand knitting association is also running regular virtual knitting groups. You can join in the fun each week using zoom video chat, and they’ve even started live Q&A sessions with knitting and crochet experts. You can find out all the dates and info over on their Instagram page.

3. Find Arts events from local groups so you can do more of what matters to you, online if not person. Or create your own group and meet people online near you, with similar interests.

4.  Do you have a side project you want to work on but struggle to focus on or complete? Have you thought about sharing your challenges? That’s where On the Side comes in, a place where you can encourage each other to focus on finishing a task, where you can ask questions or get support on those problems you’re stuck on.

5. Time to Talk Day 2021 "Time to Talk Day is a chance for schools, workplaces and communities – to join together on one day to tackle the silence and the stigma that can still surround mental health.The virtual festival will take place on our YouTube channel and is open to everyone – no tickets required!"A great way to get talking using activities , we also think we could add in crafting or creating artwork as an activity too.

We hope this guide helps you find something to join or use to boost your creativity at home!


Rembrandt in Southern California This virtual exhibition brings together a group of Rembrandt paintings in Southern California museums, they represent nearly every phase of the artist’s career giving an opportunity to view his fantastic career.

catherine peters
catherine peters

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